There’s no shame in admitting you lack the inherent outgoing personality of a marketer. Hey, just because you’re striking out into the vast jungle of online merchants, that doesn’t mean you’re a dynamo in the various aspects of self-promotion.
But here’s a news flash you can’t escape: swimming in the ecommerce jungle means you will need to establish a personality and set yourself apart. That, or you self-destruct.
You’ve put together an impressive inventory and have crafted a list of worthy objectives. You’ve even had someone with graphic design skills set up a fetching website on which you’ll hock your stuff. Boom.
So, what now? You’ll need to attract and retain customers. You have to demonstrate that you aren’t a bit player engaging part-time in pawning wares, but rather a committed vendor who is responsive to the needs and goals of her base.
Nature vs. Nurture
This is where “lead nurturing” takes over. It’s a contemporary concept catching fire around ecommerce circles, but also taking hold in everyday marketing strategies. And here’s how it works: if you have access to customers and potential customers through email addresses, use it. Reach out with a targeted message that engages with an invitation to revisit your site.
Even if you haven’t noticed, you’ve been the target of lead nurturing. Think back on emails from merchants that were graphically pleasing, provocative, cleverly-written content that made you take notice. This nurturing mail from Casper.com is a perfect example. Not only does it offer brevity, but its moving numbers offer both customer testimonials and a compelling message.
As this site makes clear, the message counts — and it becomes more alluring with a trigger. Triggers are based on timeliness, audience, and any other consideration that draws recipients to peruse your store. Also, it’s important to follow up. Very few respond impulsively to solicitations, so a second ping can stimulate interest that began with a message from a week prior.
Stats show that personalized emails deliver an enormously high return on investment relative to generic pitches. And thanks to both search criteria and formatting developments, it’s fairly easy to zero in on someone’s interests by name, sending them a homey, personalized message.
Now think outside the box. Emails are a fabulous way to send a point-to-point push, but not everyone will open and read a sales pitch. Social media offers a perfect compromise, allowing for free (free!) or low-cost content messaging that can reach a large audience. Hopefully you’ve already set up accounts on Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, and Twitter. If you’ve done your job and attracted followers, your audience is ready-made. Here’s your chance to get creative and run a weekly or even daily ad campaign, putting lead nurturing to work.
Finally, join the rest of trendy civilization, and set up a blog. Short for “web log,” these internet diaries work expertly for commercial purposes, paving the way for combining useful information about your business with a personalized approach to relating with clients. Leave space on your official site for a fun and engaging blog, and make it visible and accessible from the home page.
Is your product line a bit more sophisticated? Try something like this gem from Mr. Porter. If that’s a bit formal for your tastes, check out what Chewy.com offers its fans. There’s no better way to educate and entice customers than demonstrating that you understand your product, your industry, and their needs.
Keeping in mind that moderation is key, your outreach will not put off interested customers. If it’s well written, intelligent, relevant, and optimistic, chances are you’ll place yourself on the radar screen of current and future clientele. Don’t be afraid to establish lines of communication. It could be the difference between a vibrant business and an internet wasteland.